EB-2 Visa, How to Apply

EB-2 Visa - How to Apply

Let us help you start your application today!

Last updated: April 10, 2024.

What is EB-2 Visa?

The EB-2 visa is an employment-based immigrant visa that allows its holders to live and work in the United States permanently.

Under EB-2 category, a U.S. employer may file an immigrant visa petition for a foreign employee (also called a “Beneficiary”) who holds an advanced degree or has exceptional abilities. 

To qualify under this provision, the U.S. employer (also called “Petitioner”) must demonstrate that the job requires an advanced degree.

If a profession requires a doctoral degree, then the beneficiary must possess a doctorate in order to satisfy this requirement.

For example, applicants who hold a master’s degree or above would meet the EB-2 requirements.

Alternatively, an EB-2 applicant may show that he or she holds a baccalaureate degree followed by at least five years of progressive experience in the field, which should also meet the requirement of an “advanced degree.”

If the foreign national qualifies as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree, there is no reason to meet the “exceptional ability” standard of the USCIS regulations.

However, if the beneficiary does not possess an advanced degree or its equivalent, it will be necessary to demonstrate exceptional abilities.

USCIS regulations define exceptional ability as “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”

If the EB-2 petition is approved the employee will obtain a green card to reside and work in the U.S. permanently. The approved EB-2 petition allows beneficiaries to sponsor their spouses and unmarried children under 21 for permanent residency too.

This post will provide an overview of the EB-2 visa requirements, application process, processing timeline and cost. We hope we can  help you to understand the EB-2 visa and make an informed decision about whether or not it is the right choice for you.

EB-2 Visa vs EB-2 Green Card

EB-2 is an immigrant employment-based category which means that beneficiaries located abroad can apply for an immigrant EB-2 visa to enter the U.S. and become permanent residents.

If the beneficiary is physically present in the U.S. on a lawful nonimmigrant visa (for example, F-1 student visa, H-1B employment visa, etc.), the applicant can submit the EB-2 green card application in the U.S.

EB-2 Requirements

The majority of EB-2 applicants must be sponsored by a U.S. employer who obtains a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor prior to filing an immigration petition.

The U.S. job offer exception applies only to those individuals who can meet the EB-2 “National Interest Waiver” (NIW) requirement.

You may be eligible for an employment-based EB-2 visa if you meet the requirements of at least one the following EB-2 subcategories:

EB-2 subcategory Requirements Evidence
  1. Members of the professions holding advanced degrees
  • U.S. job offer required
  • Labor certification is required
  • Applicant holds a baccalaureate degree followed by at least five years of progressive experience in the field, which should also meet the requirement of an “advanced degree.” 
  • U.S. employer must demonstrate that the job requires an advanced degree. Should a doctoral degree be required by the beneficiary’s profession, then he or she must possess a doctorate in order to satisfy this requirement.
  • An official academic record showing the applicant has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree; or
  • An official academic record showing the applicant has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing applicant has at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty; and
  • Evidence showing the applicant has any required experience or special skills.
2. Persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business
  • U.S. job offer is required
  • Labor certification is required
  • Applicant will “substantially benefit prospectively” the United States.
Proving “exceptional ability” can be accomplished by demonstrating three of the following:

• An official academic record showing a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;

• At least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation, documented by letters from current or past employers;

• A license to practice the profession or certification for the particular profession or occupation;

• Evidence that the person has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services demonstrating exceptional ability;

• Membership in professional associations (there is no requirement that the professional associations require outstanding achievement for admission); or Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations. An advanced degree could include a

bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive work experience in their field.

3. Schedule A professions
  • U.S. job is required
  • Labor certification isn’t required 
  • The following four professions are eligible: 
    • Physical Therapists;
    • Professional Nurses;
    • Exceptional Ability in the Sciences or Arts (including college and university teachers);
    • Exceptional Ability in the Performing Arts
     See the checklist of required documents below in this article
4. National Interest Waiver 
  • U.S. job offer isn’t required
  • Labor certification is waived
The following three elements are demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence:

  1. Applicant’s  proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  2. Applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the requirements of a job offer and labor certification.

Let’s discuss each EB-2 subcategory in detail.

Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees

A U.S. employer can file a petition in this category when the job requires an advanced degree and the beneficiary possesses such a degree.

An “advanced degree” is defined as an academic or professional degree beyond the baccalaureate.

EB-2 professions include, but are not limited to the following occupations:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Lawyers
  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academies, or seminaries
  • Any other occupation for which a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign-degree equivalent is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation

As an alternative means of qualifying as an advanced-degree professional, a baccalaureate degree plus five years of progressive experience in the field can serve as the equivalent of a master’s degree. 

“Progressive experience” is defined by USCIS as “Progressive experience is demonstrated by advancing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty”.

Workers of Exceptional Ability

For the purpose of showing eligibility for EB-2 classification as a worker of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts (including athletics), or business, the individual must have a degree of expertise significantly above the ordinary.

This is established by satisfying at least three of the following six criteria:

  1. An official academic record showing a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability.
  2. At least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation documented by letters from current or past employers.
  3. A license to practice the profession or certification for the particular profession or occupation.
  4. Evidence that the noncitizen has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services demonstrating exceptional ability.
  5. Membership in professional associations (there is no requirement that the professional associations require outstanding achievement for admission).
  6. Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
  7. Other comparable evidence is also acceptable

Schedule A

“Schedule A” is a list of occupations for which the DOL has determined that there are not sufficient U.S. workers available and that wages and working conditions of U.S. workers will not be adversely affected by the employment of foreign nationals in those occupations.

DOL has identified four such occupations:

  • Physical therapists;
  • Professional nurses;
  • Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts (including college and university teachers);
  • Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the performing arts.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a waiver of the job offer requirement for individuals wishing to immigrate to the United States in the EB-2 category who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.

It means that an applicant who meets the EB-2 NIW requirements, does not need to have a U.S. job offer and obtain labor certification to apply for a green card.

In order to be granted NIW, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s proposed endeavor must have both substantial merit and national importance. A wide range of fields of endeavors may qualify, including business, entrepreneurs, science, technology, culture, health, and education.
  • Applicant is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. To determine whether an applicant meets this requirement, USCIS will look to their education, skills, knowledge and record of success in related or similar efforts, a model or plan for future activities, progress toward achieving the end, progress toward achieving the endeavor, and the interest of potential customers, users, investors or other relevant entities or individuals. 
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements of the EB-2 category. To meet this requirement, USCIS will consider (among other factors) whether the U.S. would benefit from the applicant’s  contributions even if qualified U.S. workers are otherwise available, and whether the national interest of the foreign national’s contributions is sufficiently urgent to warrant forgoing the labor certification process.
  • Applicant must qualify as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or as an individual of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

EB-2 How to Apply

The EB-2 application consists of three steps:

Step 1. Labor Certification (PERM)

Step 2. Filing Form I-140 

Step 3. Filing DS-260 (if abroad) or I-485 (if in the U.S.)

Step 1. Labor Certification (PERM)

The labor certification process is the primary tool used by the U.S. government to assess employment-based immigration cases, including EB-2 petitions. The purpose of the labor certification process is to determine the following:

  1. Whether there is a shortage of able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers; and
  2. Whether the employment of the foreign national will adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

The labor certification process involves filing ETA Form 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification. 

The employer does not file any supporting documentation with Form 9089. 

However, documentation of recruitment efforts, and responses to those efforts, as well as other items, must be gathered by the employer. 

If DOL will audit the labor certification later in the process, the employer must submit those supporting documents.

The Labor Certification process is also known as the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) labor certification.

Before the ETA Form 9089 labor certification application (also known as “PERM application”) can be prepared and filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) a U.S. employer must do the following:

  1. Assess the likelihood of PERM approval. It will not be possible to prove that there is a shortage of U.S. workers for every job in the U.S. Based on the information and documents obtained by the employer and the foreign national, a determination must be made of the likelihood of success in the EB-2 category. A negative determination will require the employer and the foreign national to look at other alternatives. If the assessment is positive, the next steps can be taken.
  2. Determine the minimum requirements for the job opportunity. The development of the appropriate minimum requirements is fundamental to the success of a labor certification. 
  3. Obtain the prevailing wage from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Employers must file Form 9141 to request the prevailing wage determination from the DOL. It can take up to 8 months to receive a prevailing wage determination (PWD). The most current PWD processing timeline can be found on the DOL website
  4. Develop appropriate recruitment efforts. The appropriate recruitment efforts must be made and properly documented by the employer. A successful recruitment campaign includes documenting the valid reasons for rejecting U.S. applicants.
  5. Give notice. PERM regulations require the employer to give notice of the labor certification filing to its employees, either through a bargaining representative or by physical posting of a notice at the worksite(s).
  6. Gather supporting documents. All supporting documentation (evidence of recruitment efforts, advertisements placed, resumes received, etc.) should be assembled before the PERM application is filed. Although the PERM regulations detail the specific documentation which must be assembled, this documentation is not required to be submitted with the ETA-9089. However, employers should ensure that all necessary documentation is ready before filing, since it could be requested by DOL in an audit.

You can find more information about the PERM process in our Labor Certification article.

National Interest Waiver (NIW) and Schedule A 

National Interest Waiver (NIW) and Schedule A applicants do not need to obtain labor certification from the DOL. 

There is no need to file Form 9089 with the DOL for certification. 

However, for both NIW and Schedule A applications Form 9089 must be prepared and submitted directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.

PERM Processing Times

It can take up to 12 months to get PERM approved by the DOL. The most current PERM processing time can be found on the DOL website (scroll down to “PERM Processing Times”)

Does an approved PERM (Labor Certification) expire?

An approved labor certification will expire 180 days from the date of issuance. Employers will need to submit Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS within 180 days of the PERM approval date.

Can an Employee (Beneficiary) Pay PERM Expenses?

No. The foreign national is prohibited from paying the attorney’s fees and/or any costs related to preparing and filing the PERM labor certification. 

The employer may not seek or receive payment of any kind in regard to obtaining permanent labor certification, except the following two situations:

  1. When the work to be performed will benefit or accrue to a person or entity making the payment; and
  2. When the foreign national pays his or her own cost in connection with the labor certification. For example, the foreign national hires an attorney to assist in completing his or her part of the Form 9089, or seeks counsel about whether the PERM has a good chance of approval.

The DOL does not preclude the foreign national from paying the attorney’s fees for the preparation and filing of Form I-140 or the preparation and filing of Adjustment of Status or DS-260 immigrant visa applications.

Step 2. Filing Form I-140 

After Step 1 (Labor Certification, PERM) is approved, employers must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS within 180 days.

As a general rule, Form I-140 must include a certified individual labor certification from the DOL. 

There are two exceptions to the labor-certification requirement:

  1. National Interest Waiver (NIW)
  2. Schedule A workers:
    1. Physical therapists
    2. Professional nurses
    3.  Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts (including college and university teachers)
    4. Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the performing arts.

Form I-140 filing fee: $715 plus additional fees

Form I-140 Asylum Program Fee:

  • $600 (general category)
  • $0 (nonprofit employers)
  • $300 (small employers)

If you want to expedite the processing time of Form I-140, USCIS offers Premium Processing Service.

The current premium processing fee is $2,805. 

USCIS guarantees to complete the review of Form in 15 calendar days if the Premium Processing fee was paid.

For comparison, regular processing time of Form I-140 can take up to 4 months.

Approved Form I-140s are valid indefinitely unless revoked. However, you need to keep in mind that priority dates may be lost through such occurrences as:

  • Failure to timely respond to DOL or USCIS requests for evidence (RFE)
  • Employer’s notice of withdrawal due to lack of intent to employ the noncitizen following approval of Adjustment of Status, or 
  • Automatic revocation of the Form I-140 due to termination of the employer’s business.

Step 3. Filing DS-260 (if abroad) or I-485 (if in the U.S.)

After Form I-140 is approved and the “visa number” is available, the applicants who reside abroad can apply for immigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy or apply for permanent residence in the U.S.

The process of applying for an immigrant visa from abroad is known as “Consular Processing”. EB-2 applicants who do not possess a valid U.S. visa usually have no other option but to apply for “Consular Processing”.

The process of applying for a green card in the U.S. is known as “Adjustment of Status”. Only applicants physically present in the U.S. on a lawful nonimmigrant visa can apply for Adjustment of Status.

Depending on processing times at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Adjustment of Status may be preferred by foreign nationals over Consular Processing for the following reasons: 

(1) It avoids the expense and inconvenience of travel to the home country; 

(2) Adjustment of Status applicants, including dependent family members, are entitled to employment authorization and permission to travel while the Adjustment of Status application is pending; 

(3) Employment-based AOS applicants receive job mobility (i.e., “portability”) benefits; and 

(4) There are more options for reconsideration of an unfavorable decision by USCIS.

Consular Processing

After Form I-140 is approved, and the Consular Processing was chosen on Form I-140, EB-2 applicants will receive a notice from the National Visa Center (NVC). 

The NVC notice will contain credentials for accessing Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. 

After Form DS-260 is completed and all the supporting documents are uploaded, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s country of residence will be scheduled. 

If the interview goes well and the consular officer is satisfied that the EB-2 applicant meets all the requirements, an immigrant visa will be issued. 

Immigrant visas are usually valid for 6 months but might be issued for a shorter period of time. 

EB-2 applicants must enter the U.S. before the expiration date of their immigrant visa. 

On the day EB-2 applicants enter the US, they become permanent residents.

Consular Processing can take anywhere from 2 months to 12 months to complete depending on the current backlog at NVC and U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Concurrent Filing (Adjustment of Status)

Some EB-2 applicants are already physically present in the U.S. on another nonimmigrant visa (for example, H-1B, L-1, etc.) 

Some EB-2 applicants located in the U.S. are eligible for “concurrent filing” of the following immigration forms:

  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers)
  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document)

It means that eligible EB-2 applicants can file their green card and employment authorization applications at the same time as the immigration petition is filed on their behalf. 

Concurrent filing is permitted when an immigrant visa is immediately available or would be immediately available if the Form I-140 were approved on the date of filing. 

To verify if you are eligible for EB-2 concurrent filing, take the following steps:

  1. Visit USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin webpage
  2. Find Current Month’s Adjustment of Status Filing Charts
  3. Find the table called “Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications”
  4. Find the 2nd employment-based category
  5. Find your country of birth
  6. The date you see in your category is called “Priority date”
  7. If the date your labor certification was filed with the DOL is earlier than the priority date from the chart, then you’re eligible for concurrent filing
  8. If the date your labor certification was filed with the DOL is later than the priority date from the chart, then you’re not eligible for concurrent filing and need to wait 
  9. If you’re filing under NIW or Schedule A, your priority date is the date Form I-140 was registered by USCIS

Concurrent filing benefits include:

  • Your green card application will be filed earlier. If you have unmarried children under 21, the concurrent filing might “freeze” the child’s age for immigration purposes.
  • You and your dependents can apply for and receive employment authorization documents
  • Two applications will be reviewed at the same time: I-140 (immigrant petition) and I-485 (green card application). It might allow you to become a permanent resident sooner than later and enjoy all the immigration benefits that come with that.
  • If your green card is approved earlier, your U.S. citizenship eligibility might occur earlier too.

Form I-485 filing fee is $1,440. No additional filing fee is required for Form I-765 (Employment Authorization) and Form I-131 (Travel Document) if filed together with I-485.

Premium Processing Service is not available for Form I-485 applications. Processing of Form I-485 can take anywhere from 7.5 months to 35 months. To get an approximate processing time for your I-485 application, visit USCIS Processing Times webpage.

EB-2 Checklist of Documents

See the checklist of required documents for each step of the EB-2 application below.

Step 1. Labor Certification (PERM) checklist of documents

Type of documents Examples of acceptable documents Who provides it
Notice to bargaining representative A copy of the letter and a copy of the application for permanent employment

certification form that was sent to the bargaining representative.

Employer
Posted notice A copy of the posted notice with a signed statement as to where it was posted (and

when); copies of all in-house media, whether electronic or print, that were used to

distribute notice of the application.

Employer
Evidence bearing on an application for

permanent alien labor certification

Information on available workers, information on wages and working conditions,

information on employer’s failure to meet the terms and conditions for the

employment of noncitizen workers and coworkers.

Employer
Proof of Schedule A qualification for Physical Therapist (only if sponsoring a physical therapist) Letter or statement, signed by an authorized state physical therapy licensing official,

stating the foreign national is qualified to take the state’s written licensing exam.

Physical Therapist
Proof of Schedule A qualification for professional nurse (only if sponsoring a professional nurse)  Certificate from CGFNS; Full and unrestricted (permanent) license to practice in

the state of intended employment; or passing the NCLEX-RN.

Professional nurse
Schedule A, Exceptional Ability (only if sponsoring an individual of exceptional ability) Proof of widespread acclaim and international recognition, documentation

that applicant’s work in the field during the past year required exceptional ability

and two of the following seven:

1. Internationally recognized prizes or awards

2. Membership in international association that requires outstanding achievement

3. Published material in professional journals about the noncitizen

4. Evidence of the noncitizen’s participation as a judge of the work of others

5. Evidence of the noncitizen’s original scientific or scholarly research

contributions

6. Evidence of the noncitizen’s authorship of published scientific or scholarly

articles

7. Evidence of the display of the noncitizen’s work

Individual of exceptional ability
Exceptional ability in the performing arts Evidence of applicant’s work experience within the past 12 months required, and work will require exceptional ability. Other supporting documents include:

1. Current widespread acclaim and international recognition and receipt of

international recognized prizes and awards for excellence

2. Published material by or about the noncitizen

3. Documentary evidence of earnings commensurate with the claimed level of

ability

4. Playbills and star billings

5. Outstanding reputation of theaters, concert halls, nightclubs, etc.

6. Outstanding reputation of theaters, reparatory companies, ballet troops, etc. with which the noncitizen has performed during the last 12 months in a leading or starring capacity

Individual of exceptional ability in the performing arts
Proof of recruitment efforts (if requested by DOL audit)
  • Detailed job description
  • Recruitment report
  • Résumés, sorted by reasons the applicants were rejected
  • Documentation of contact with any potentially qualified U.S. applicants
  • Prevailing wage determination
  • Documentation of ads (two)
Employer

 

Step 2. Filing Form I-140 Checklist of Documents

Type of documents Examples of acceptable documents Who provides it
Approved Labor Certification (if applicable) Employer
Proof that employer is able to pay the beneficiary the offered wage from the priority date until they become a permanent resident
  • Employer’s annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statements. 
  • If an employer has more than 100 employees, a statement from the organization’s financial officer 
Employer
Evidence showing the beneficiary qualify for the classification sought Proof of holding either an advanced degree, baccalaureate degree, or requisite two years of education) and any additional requirements Employee (“Beneficiary”)
If filing for a member of the professions holding an advanced degree
  • An official academic record showing the applicant has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree; or
  • An official academic record showing the applicant has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing applicant has at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty; and
  • Evidence showing the applicant has any required experience or special skills.
Employee (“Beneficiary”)
If filing for a person of exceptional ability Evidence showing the beneficiary qualifies as a person of exceptional ability through the provision of three of six forms of evidence:

  • An official academic record showing the beneficiary has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
  • A letter from a current or former employer showing the beneficiary has at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation;
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
  • Evidence the beneficiary has commanded a salary or other pay for services that demonstrates exceptional ability;
  • Evidence of membership in professional associations; or
  • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
  • Other comparable evidence to establish the beneficiary’s exceptional ability
Employee (“Beneficiary”)
If filing for National Interest Waiver (NIW) The following three elements are demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence:

  1. Applicant’s  proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  2. Applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the requirements of a job offer and labor certification.
If filing for Schedule A, Physical Therapist
  • Evidence showing the beneficiary holds a permanent license to practice in the state of intended employment; or
  • A letter or statement, signed by an authorized state physical therapy licensing official, stating the beneficiary is qualified to take the state’s written licensing examination for physical therapists.
Physical Therapist
If filing for Schedule A, Professional Nurses
  • Evidence showing the beneficiary received a certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS);
  • Evidence showing the beneficiary holds a full, unrestricted, permanent license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment; or
  • Evidence showing the beneficiary passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Professional Nurse
If filing for Schedule A, exceptional ability in the sciences or arts
  • Widespread acclaim and international recognition from experts in the beneficiary’s field
  • Documentation showing the beneficiary’s work in that field during the past year did (and their intended work in the U.S. will) require exceptional ability
  • Two of the following types of evidence:
    • Documentation of the beneficiary’s receipt of internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field for which certification is sought;
    • Documentation of the beneficiary’s membership in international associations in the field for which certification is sought, which require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized international experts in their disciplines or fields;
    • Material published in professional publications about the beneficiary’s work in the field for which certification is sought, which includes the title, date, and author of such published material;
    • Evidence of the beneficiary’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or similar field of specialization to that for which certification is sought;
    • Evidence of the beneficiary’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions of major significance in the field for which certification is sought;
    • Evidence of the beneficiary’s authorship of published scientific or scholarly articles in the field for which certification is sought, in international professional journals or professional journals with an international circulation;
    • Evidence of the display of the beneficiary’s work, in the field for which certification is sought, at artistic exhibitions in more than one country.
Individual of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts 
If filing for Schedule A, exceptional ability in the performing arts
  • Evidence the beneficiary’s work experience during the past 12 months did require and the beneficiary’s intended work in the U.S. will require exceptional ability;
  • Evidence of the beneficiary’s exceptional ability, such as:
    • Documentation attesting to the current widespread acclaim and international recognition accorded to the beneficiary, and receipt of internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
    • Published material by or about the beneficiary, such as critical reviews or articles in major newspapers, periodicals, and/or trade journals, which includes the title, date, and author of such material;
    • Documentary evidence of earnings corresponding with the claimed level of ability;
    • Playbills and star billings;
    • Documents attesting to the outstanding reputation of theaters, concert halls, night clubs, and other establishments in which the alien has appeared or is scheduled to appear; and/or
    • Documents attesting to the outstanding reputation of theaters or repertory companies, ballet troupes, orchestras, or other organizations in which or with which the alien has performed during the past year in a leading or starring capacity.
Individual of exceptional ability in the performing arts

 

Step 3. Filing DS-260 or I-485 Checklist of Required Documents

Type of documents

Who provides it

Form DS-260 (if filing from abroad)

Each document in foreign language must be translated into English

Form I-140 registration or approval notice Employer
Passport (biographic page) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Digital U.S. visa-type photograph Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Long-form birth certificate that lists both parents Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Marriage certificate (if applicable) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Divorce decrees (if applicable) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Police certificate Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Court records (if any) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Original sealed medical form Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Form I-485 (if filing in the U.S.)
Form I-140 registration or approval notice Employer
Passport (biographic page) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Six (6) U.S. passport-style photographs Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Form I-94 Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Nonimmigrant visa page Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) stamp page Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Long-form birth certificate that lists both parents Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Marriage certificate (if applicable) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Divorce decrees (if applicable) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Certified police and court records (if any) Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Proof of maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status: I-20 forms, I-797C USCIS notices (extension of status, approval notice, registration notices) – if applicable Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Government-issued ID (front and back): driver’s license, state ID, etc. Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Copy of previously issued Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), if applicable Beneficiary and each accompanying family member
Original sealed medical form Beneficiary and each accompanying family member

 

EB-2 cost

You can expect to pay the following filing fees associated with EB-2 application:

PERM (Labor Certification)

  • Form 9141 filing fee – $0
  • Form 9089 filing fee – $0
  • Expenses related to job postings & recruitment process – varies

Form I-140:

Form I-140 filing fee: $715 plus additional fees

Form I-140 Asylum Program Fee:

  • $600 (general category)
  • $0 (nonprofit employers)
  • $300 (small employers)

Premium Processing Fee (optional, only if you want to request an expedited review) is $2,805

Form DS-260 or Form I-485:

  • DS-260 filing fee is $325
  • Form I-485 filing fee is $1,440/per applicant

Legal fees (if you decide to hire an immigration attorney):

  • Varies, anywhere from $6,800 to $15,000 

The total cost of filing EB-2 can be anywhere from $4,000 to $22,000. Expect to pay additional government & legal fees for each dependent.

EB-2 processing time

The exact processing time of an EB-2 application depends on the following factors:

  • Department of Labor backlogs
  • USCIS backlogs
  • U.S. Department of State backlogs (if applying from abroad)
  • Current priority dates of the Visa Bulletin
  • Applicant’s country of birth

It can take anywhere between 20 months to 12 years to complete an EB-2 application. 

EB-2 Priority Date and Visa Bulletin

“Priority date” plays an important role in EB-2 applications, especially if you were born in India or China.

The priority date would be the date on which:

  1. The application for labor Certification was submitted, or
  2. If a certification was not required, the date on which the Form I-140 was filed with USCIS.

The total number of employment-based visas allowed each year is 140,000. The EB-2 visa allocation is 28.6 percent of the total 140,000 authorized visas a year.

This limitation on visa issuances creates a waiting line in the EB-2 category. It means that EB-2 applicants might be required to wait until their priority date becomes current ( available) before they can file their green card application in the U.S. or apply for immigrant visa abroad.

In order to find out if your priority date is current, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Visit the Visa Bulletin webpage
  2. Find the current month’s bulletin
  3. Find the table called “Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases”
  4. Find the 2nd employment-based category
  5. Find your country of birth
  6. The date you see in your category is called “Priority date”
  7. If the date your labor certification was filed with the DOL is earlier than the priority date from the chart, then you’re eligible for Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
  8. If the date your labor certification was filed with the DOL is later than the priority date from the chart, then you’re not eligible for Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status and need to wait 
  9. If you’re filing under NIW or Schedule A, your priority date is the date Form I-140 was registered by USCIS

1. What is the Eb-2 Visa Category?

The EB-2 visa category is an employment-based, second-preference visa for those wishing to lawfully enter the United States for employment purposes. 

To qualify for the EB-2 visa category, applicants must possess an advanced degree or an exceptional ability in a specific field. 

Furthermore, they must have an offer of employment in the United States and the employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor in order to prove that there are no qualified US workers for the position the applicant is seeking to fill.

The EB-2 visa category also requires the applicant to have an immigrant visa petition approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

2. How Do I Qualify for an Eb-2 Visa?

The EB-2 visa is an employment-based visa for those who possess an advanced degree or its equivalent, or have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. 

To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they meet the criteria for this visa, and provide evidence of their education or experience. 

This evidence can include diplomas, transcripts, certifications, letters of recommendation, or other documents.

In addition to providing evidence of their qualifications, applicants must also provide evidence of a job offer from a U.S. employer who has petitioned on their behalf. 

This job offer must be in a professional position that requires an advanced degree or its equivalent, and must be in a field where there are not enough U.S. workers available to meet the employer’s needs. 

3. What are the Advantages of Applying for an Eb-2 Visa?

The EB-2 Visa is an excellent option for skilled workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability who wish to permanently live and work in the US. 

The EB-2 Visa also allows the visa holder to bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the U.S. It provides a path to permanent residence and later to U.S. citizenship.

In addition to the immigration benefits, applicants for the EB-2 Visa may be eligible for a variety of other benefits, including access to social services and eligibility for certain government programs. 

This makes the EB-2 Visa an attractive option for those looking to permanently move to the U.S.

4. What is the Difference Between an Eb-2 and an Eb-3 Visa?

The EB-2 visa is a type of employment-based, second-preference visa that allows foreign nationals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability to work in the United States. 

The key difference between an EB-2 and EB-3 visa is the level of education or experience required to be eligible. 

The EB-2 visa requires advanced degrees or exceptional ability, while the EB-3 visa requires professional, skilled, or other worker qualifications.

For some EB-2 visa applicants the U.S. job offer and labor certification can be waived. 

At the same time, all EB-3 visa applicants require a U.S. job offer and labor certification to be approved before they can apply for permanent residency.

5. How Long Will It Take to Get an Eb-2 Visa?

It can take anywhere between 20 months and 12 years to obtain an EB-2 visa. 

Generally, the processing time for an EB-2 visa depends on the applicant’s country of origin, the current processing times at government agencies handling EB-2 applications and the current Visa Bulletin

The processing time for applicants from India and China is usually much longer, ranging from 4 to 12 years.

For those seeking an EB-2 visa, it is important to consider the processing time when making plans for the application. 

Knowing the expected processing time can help applicants to better plan for the entire EB-2 process.